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By Dianne Bunis

This baked lasagna gets it’s divine taste from fresh herbs and veggies like, spinach, carrots, broccoli and onions plus sausage combined with low fat cheeses to make it lighter and healthier. Simply omit the sausage if you prefer a vegetarian version. The dish can be assembled the night before, simply refrigerate covered and bake the next day.

Vegetable Sausage Lasagna

10 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, coarsely shredded

Salt and black pepper

1/2 pound ground sweet Italian sausage, (casing removed)

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

3 cups baby spinach, chopped

1 cup steamed broccoli florets and stems, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves chiffonade, divided

2 cups ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese

8 ounces (2 cups) part-skim mozzarella, coarsely shredded

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

4 cups marinara sauce

1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 13×9-inch baking or lasagna pan.

In medium skillet, over medium heat, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and add sausage to skillet, sauté until brown, crumbling with a fork, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Add to the same skillet — 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, carrot and 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper, cook until onion and carrot soften, about 4 minutes.

Add garlic and stir in parsley, spinach and 1/4 cup basil, sauté for 2-3 minutes, add broccoli and cooked sausage, cover and remove from the burner, set aside.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly, then spread a thin layer of sauce evenly over noodles. Spread evenly a layer of 1/2 vegetables and sausage mixture. Spread with dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle one-third of the mozzarella evenly, sprinkle with Parmesan. Continue with another layer of noodles, marinara, remaining vegetables and sausage, ricotta and mozzarella, Parmesan. Top with final layer of noodles, spoon 1 cup marinara sauce, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.

Loosely cover with foil (tenting center to prevent cheese from touching) and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5-6 minutes until top is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly, but not browned. Let rest for 15 minutes, drizzle a spoonful of extra marinara on plate, top with a slice of lasagna and a sprinkle of basil.